Sufjan Stevens

Remove this Banner Ad

P.A.F.C

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 19, 2004
5,011
150
Melbourne
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
West Bromwich Albion
So i've heard some Muse fans sprouting massive amount of praise for the symphony in their latest album. It's probably the best thing on the album, but that's hardly saying anything.

It's a shame Sufjan Stevens latest neoclassical effort hasn't received as much fanfare. Because, although I haven't given it massive amounts of listening yet, it is far superior. Sufjan has always used classical elements to his music and imo, uses counterpoint better than any pop/indie musician i've ever heard. He also shows massive amounts of variety from album to album. Seven Swans, my favourite album by him, is a stripped back folk album, comprising mostly of banjo, acoustic guitar and vocals and is amazing. He backed it up with the epic concept album Illinoise, with a massive amount of different songs, all about the state of Illinois. His collection of christmas songs is also surprisingly good.

Here's a bit of a taste, though I suggest people seek out the album, and the rest of Sufjan's work.
[YOUTUBE]z6sRXCLVyoc[/YOUTUBE]
 

Log in to remove this ad.

La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
15,534
23,171
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Manchester City, Boston Bruins
Heard Illinois the other day and thought it was fairly good.

Must get around the hearing his other stuff...
 

mansize rooster

Cancelled
Jan 11, 2004
2,942
312
Here There and Everywhere
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Other Teams
kangas
the BQE is ok i guess.. for a casual in the background type listen.
i want songs though. these worked fine on illionise as interludes but i found a whole album was just to much.

seems the guy is stuck for songs. xmas collection,bqe and a re-release of an album is all he can do these days.

lets hope 2010 can give us a proper sufjan album. its been to long
 

JimDocker

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 16, 2007
5,980
3,421
Fremantle
AFL Club
Fremantle
Other Teams
Doncaster Rovers, Boston Celtics
I have Illinoise and really like it.
Some of his other stuff that I have heard does not do a lot for me.
I think he tries to put out too much stuff and the quality is diluted, which is a pity for an obviously talented artist.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

lions_den

Cancelled
Jul 15, 2007
12,002
479
East Horsham
AFL Club
Brisbane Lions
Other Teams
Orlando Magic
Been a fan of his for years. Come On! Feel the Illinoise! is a beautiful song, as well as The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts.
 

La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
15,534
23,171
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Manchester City, Boston Bruins
Any other big fans?

With the possible exception of Kendrick Lamar is there a better artist currently than Sufjan?

Still an absolute banger:

 

MC Bad Genius

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 15, 2008
11,279
17,472
Sydney
AFL Club
Sydney
Other Teams
Gold City Royals
Still a very big fan after all this time and despite not loving everything he puts out, I can appreciate the artistic endeavours he takes. Seen two of his live shows (one at the State Theatre and the other at the Opera House) and they were both stunningly brilliant, but in quite different ways. I recently put together my own Hottest 100 of the last decade (because I really didn't enjoy the jjj one) and Sufjan featured a couple of times.

Anyone willing to put together their top 10 Sufjan tracks and share it here? I'd be keen to listen to what particular songs other people love and see if there's an overlap with my favourites.
 

La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
15,534
23,171
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Manchester City, Boston Bruins
Still a very big fan after all this time and despite not loving everything he puts out, I can appreciate the artistic endeavours he takes. Seen two of his live shows (one at the State Theatre and the other at the Opera House) and they were both stunningly brilliant, but in quite different ways. I recently put together my own Hottest 100 of the last decade (because I really didn't enjoy the jjj one) and Sufjan featured a couple of times.

Anyone willing to put together their top 10 Sufjan tracks and share it here? I'd be keen to listen to what particular songs other people love and see if there's an overlap with my favourites.
I saw Sufjan in 2011 after the Age of Adz came out, and it’d have to be a top 5 gig. Impossible Soul in full, Chicago, that whole coloured duct tape and Sufjan’s weird dancing... haven’t seen anything like it since.

In terms of top 10, probably:

1. The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades
2. Casimir Pulaski Day
3. Impossible Soul
4. Fourth of July
5. For the Widows in Paradise
6. Come on! Feel the Illinois
7. Vesuvius
8. Death With Dignity
9. I Want To Be Well
10. Seven Swans

It’s hard to put together a list because all his albums are so stylistically different, and it really depends on your mood. I uncover new things every time I listen to Illinois. It’s a good journey, and almost feels like a well executed double LP.

Carrie and Lowell is probably the best (then Illinois, then the Age of Adz). The whole vibe is pretty tragic, but I love how personal it is. He’s usually far more removed and kind of peers into his subject matter than hitting it head on. A song like Fourth of July destroys you if you’re already in a state, and have lost someone.
 

Plugger35

The umpires are always right!
Sep 27, 2008
107,998
126,245
AFL Club
St Kilda
Other Teams
Chelsea, Black Caps, Subiaco
I remember he said he was going to make an album for every state in the US, bit off a bit more than he could chew, but the one state album he made was quality.




He could never top Illinois, no point going on with the other 49 state albums, quit while you're ahead.
 

MC Bad Genius

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 15, 2008
11,279
17,472
Sydney
AFL Club
Sydney
Other Teams
Gold City Royals
I remember he said he was going to make an album for every state in the US, bit off a bit more than he could chew, but the one state album he made was quality.




He could never top Illinois, no point going on with the other 49 state albums, quit while you're ahead.
He released Michigan before Illinois though...
 

La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
15,534
23,171
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Manchester City, Boston Bruins
Michigan is a good album, but more a pre-cursor to Illinois than anything. Some of the songs even sound like early demos of Illinois songs, and the track lengths foreshadowed what he’d go on to do with Seven Swans. It’s more subdued though.

No doubting songs like Romulus, For the Widows and Flint. Perfect songwriting.
 

Roobs321

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 28, 2008
9,979
6,754
AFL Club
West Coast
Other Teams
Arsenal Kilmarnock
I saw Sufjan in 2011 after the Age of Adz came out, and it’d have to be a top 5 gig. Impossible Soul in full, Chicago, that whole coloured duct tape and Sufjan’s weird dancing... haven’t seen anything like it since.
Same, saw him live at the Opera House in summer 2011 (was very wacky colourful from memory). I picked up Adz on release week and it turned out to be a strong grower, one of my 20 favourite albums from that decade. I was running marathons at the start of the 2010s, and was thrilled to hear that he (and I think his brother) had also been endurance runners.

I must admit I haven't quite taken to any other full-length he has done. Might just be a genre thing, as Adz was closer to stuff I liked at the time, whereas I wasn't as into things like folk or singer-songwriter ten years ago as I am now (I sort of skipped that whole late 00s indie boom). Will have to revisit the three I own but haven't successfully become attached to (Illinois, Michigan, Carrie & Lowell). I remember randomly gushing over Chicago with a colleague around this same time.
 
Last edited:

La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
15,534
23,171
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Manchester City, Boston Bruins
Same, saw him live at the Opera House in summer 2011 (was very wacky colourful from memory). I picked up Adz on release week and it turned out to be a strong grower, one of my 20 favourite albums from that decade. I was running marathons at the start of the 2010s, and was thrilled to hear that he (and I think his brother) had also been endurance runners.

I must admit I haven't quite taken to any other full-length he has done. Might just be a genre thing, as Adz was closer to stuff I liked at the time, whereas I wasn't as into things like folk or singer-songwriter ten years ago as I am now (I sort of skipped that whole late 00s indie boom). Will have to revisit the three I own but haven't successfully become attached to (Illinois, Michigan, Carrie & Lowell). I remember randomly gushing over Chicago with a colleague around this same time.
Interesting, I can’t actually find any direct stylistic comparison to the Age of Adz, even outside his immediate discography. Talking Heads at a pinch? I just see it as Illinois adapted to synths and loopers.

I didn’t realise he ran marathons either. He’s reasonably solid and his arm size is pretty ominous when he’s performing though. Definitely a unique person (Brett Kirk vibes), with a whole lot of cool ideas and interests. It’s a shame there aren’t a heap of extensive interviews with him, and perhaps that is by design, because I find his perspective of on life and set of experiences pretty fascinating.
 

MC Bad Genius

Brownlow Medallist
Apr 15, 2008
11,279
17,472
Sydney
AFL Club
Sydney
Other Teams
Gold City Royals
Interesting, I can’t actually find any direct stylistic comparison to the Age of Adz, even outside his immediate discography. Talking Heads at a pinch? I just see it as Illinois adapted to synths and loopers.

I didn’t realise he ran marathons either. He’s reasonably solid and his arm size is pretty ominous when he’s performing though. Definitely a unique person (Brett Kirk vibes), with a whole lot of cool ideas and interests. It’s a shame there aren’t a heap of extensive interviews with him, and perhaps that is by design, because I find his perspective of on life and set of experiences pretty fascinating.
Have you read this one from when he released Carrie & Lowell? https://pitchfork.com/features/interview/9595-true-myth-a-conversation-with-sufjan-stevens/
 

La Dispute

La Dispute
Jul 14, 2005
15,534
23,171
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
Manchester City, Boston Bruins
Yeh I remember reading it when it came out. It’s a decent read, and obviously a nice bit of context for the album.

I mean it’d be nice to have something more substantial on YouTube documenting his rise as a musician, either a lengthy interview with him or a doco showcasing his rise to prominence. He’s always casting off morsels of information in performances and in some of the shorter interviews I have seen with him, but doesn’t really elaborate too much.

He came out with some really bizarre off the cuff comments when I saw him, about being brought up (or at least heavily involved in) a cult-like spiritual community when he was in his teen years.

He’d have an amazing autobiography, if he ever gets to writing one.
 

Remove this Banner Ad

Remove this Banner Ad